13 Palestinian parliamentarians imprisoned after Israeli occupation forces seize Ahmad Attoun

Ahmad Attoun. Photo: Asra Media

Ahmad Attoun, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, was seized by Israeli occupation forces in the early pre-dawn hours of Wednesday, 12 April, bringing the number of PLC members imprisoned by Israel to 13. Attoun was among 11 Palestinians seized by Israeli occupation forces in overnight raids.

Attoun, 52, is a Jerusalemite Palestinian who was forced out of Jerusalem and his residency in his home city stripped from him by the Israeli occupation in 2010, along with fellow imprisoned parliamentarian Mohammed Abu Teir and PLC member Mohammed Totah, as well as former PA Jerusalem minister Khaled Abu Arafa. He was seized at his home in El-Bireh, which was invaded and ransacked by occupation forces, damaging and upending furniture.

Attoun is a member of the Change and Reform bloc in the PLC, associated with Hamas. He has spent over 12 years in Israeli jails, including in 2013, when he was seized and held in administrative detention without charge or trial for 20 months. He has been prohibited from even entering his home city of Jerusalem.

Also seized by Israeli occupation forces was Hamas spokesperson Fayez Abu Warda of el-Bireh, Bashar Sabatin and Amir Zaoul of Husan near Bethlehem, Moatassem Samer Brigheith of Beit Amr near al-Khalil, and Mustafa Abu Armelah, Ahmad Joudah, Sbeih Abu Sbeih, Noor al-Shalabi, Jihad Qous and Rawhi Koulghasi, all of Jerusalem. In addition, Mohammed Ma’an Fuquha, 32, the brother of Mazen Fuquha, the former prisoner and prominent Hamas leader recently assassinated in Gaza, was seized by Israeli occupation forces in Tubas. Mazen Fuquha had been forcibly displaced to the Gaza Strip following his release in the Wafa al-Ahrar prisoner exchange of 2011.

Mohammed Fuquha. Photo: Asra News

The seizure of Attoun comes amid a recent escalation against PLC members; seven members of the PLC have been seized so far this year. PLC member Samira Halaiqa, seized by Israeli occupation forces on 9 March from her home in al-Khalil, is being charged in Israeli military court for her public political activities, including activities in support of Palestinian political prisoners. While the Ofer military court ordered Halaiqa, 53 and a representative of the Change and Reform bloc, released on a bail of 40,000 NIS (approximately $10,000) during the military trial, the military prosecutor appealed the order and Halaiqa remains imprisoned.

It also comes one day after the renewal of the administrative detention order against PLC member Hassan Yousef, 61, of the Change and Reform bloc, ordering him to another three months of imprisonment without charge or trial. This is the fifth time consecutively that he has been ordered to administrative detention since his seizure by Israeli occupation forces on 20 October 2015. In addition, the military prosecutor rejected Yousef’s lawyer’s petition to declare this his final period in administrative detention.

Also recently ordered to administrative detention were PLC members Ibrahim Dahbour and Mohammed al-Tal, both seized in March by occupation forces and ordered to administrative detention. Ahmad Mubarak, seized in January 2016, Azzam Salhab, arrested in November 2016, and Mohammed Jamal Natsheh, arrested in September 2016, are also imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention. All are members of the Change and Reform bloc, as are Khaled Tafesh and Anwar Zboun, currently imprisoned since they were seized by Israeli occupation forces on 6 March.

They join Abu Teir, fellow Jerusalem deportee with Attoun, currently serving a 17-month sentence in Israeli prison, as well as Ahmad Sa’adat, 63, the imprisoned General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine serving a 30-year prison sentence after he and his comrades were abducted by Israeli forces attacking a Palestinian Authority prison in Jericho in 2006, and Marwan Barghouthi, prominent Fateh leader serving five life sentences and imprisoned since 2002.